There were no airs and graces for the former Queen of Spain.
Pomp and circumstance were way out the window on a night out for Queen Sofia in Marbella this week.
On a rare visit to the Costa del Sol, King Felipe’s mother could have chosen one of the four Michelin-starred restaurants or grand dining rooms of over half a dozen five-star hotels.
Still, she settled on his much more racy sister, Puerto Banus, and an expat-owned Indian restaurant, Mumtaz.
The olive press can reveal that the Queen and her friends – including Princess Alia of Jordan and her sister Irene of Greece – arrived at the upscale eatery after attending the concert of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra and Choir at the Marbella Arena.
They were joined by Indian conductor Zubin Mehta, who recommended the harborside restaurant, and legendary pianist/conductor Daniel Barenboim.
Queen Sofia, a great music lover, had traveled to Marbella to enjoy the open-air concert of her friend Mehta, who has been dubbed the best conductor in the world.
Mumtaz manager Juan Gimenez announced that the Royal group arrived at 11:30 p.m., minutes after the concert had ended.
The dinner was hosted by billionaire philanthropists Yusuf and Farida Hamied and the restaurant closed to them to ensure no photographers could take pictures inside.
But while the Queen seemed incredibly happy, staff were surprised that she tried few dishes and nothing with meat.
“All her friends tried every dish, but she didn’t try any of the dishes with meat, she only had lentils, potatoes with cauliflower and spinach,” Gimenez told the Olive Press.
However, she did have at least a few glasses of Vega Sicilia’s famous Valbuena wine – one of Spain’s best wines, priced at over €135 a bottle.
“This is one of the best and most expensive wines that we offer in our restaurant,” emphasized Juan.
In addition, Queen Sofia, 83, was very friendly to all the staff and was happy to pose for a few photos with them.
“She was having a great time, smiling a lot and talking to all her friends and to her sister,” added the manager.
“She had a first course, a second course and a dessert, but they didn’t have a gin and tonic,” said Juan Gimenez.
The restaurant was only booked two days earlier and the restaurant’s door was secured by police officers to protect the former Queen.
It was her last trip before traveling to Mallorca with King Felipe and Leticia, where she will spend the rest of the summer.
The restaurant is part of the Metro Group, run by successful British-Indian expat businessman Mr Ram.
It also owns Jacks, Joys and the recently opened Leone in the Port and Alberts in Cabopino.